All in all, the whole City of Coronado is less than 30 miles from one end to the other, so no matter where you start, you should be able to see all of what Coronado has to offer if you can grab a few days and preferably a week to stake out your visit.
So, assuming you are not just coming over for the day, you will need accommodations. Coronado is home to multiple hotels, including the world famous, Hotel Del Coronado which is located in the ‘village’ part of Coronado, as well as the 5 Star Loews Coronado Resort & Spa which is located about 5 miles south on the Silver Strand. In addition to the larger hotels and resorts, there are also numerous smaller lodging facilities including micro motels, B&B’s and even a Best Western. The other options for staying overnight include vacation home rentals which can range from $2000 per week up to $50,000 per week. And if you have a recreational vehicle you can try and reserve a spot at the Silver Strand State Beach. One thing we don’t have in Coronado is a Youth Hostel of any kind, and don’t even imagine for a minute that the local police will let you get away with sleeping in your car.
So, the most important tip we can offer is to book your accommodations early. Whether you stay in a private home, made available for the month of July, which overlooks the ocean or sits on a dock in one of the residential marina homes in the Coronado Cays, or you hope to get a room at the Best Western Inn, you’ll be disappointed if you wait until the summer sun is out before you try to book your spot.
The other most important tip we can offer is to rent or bring bikes. There are several bike shops in Coronado that specialize in renting bikes. Coronado is truly one of the best towns in the country for riding a bike. There are bike trails going around the entire Island (Isthmus) and in the Village the speed limit is only 25, so it’s pretty safe.
The only thing we do not recommend is renting one of those 5 passenger cycle carts – which they rent at the Ferry Landing. At least, we don’t recommend renting one of those ‘death traps’ unless you plan to stay on the promenade by the Ferry Landing. Every year, the locals groan as we watch some hapless family with toddlers trying to cross the fricken freeway which is what 3rd Avenue becomes as people come onto the Island from the Coronado Bay Bridge. Nobody’s died yet, but it can’t be safe crossing a four lane highway in one of those silly contraptions.
Finally, check out all sides of the island. Many people never get past the usual tourist stops of the Hotel Del and the main restaurant and shopping drags at the Ferry Landing and on Orange Ave. We highly recommend spending at least one day down at the Silver Strand State Beach. If you don’t want to pay $8 for a day pass, you can park in the Coronado Cays and walk across. If you drive north once you enter the Cays, and park at the north end of Coronado Cays Blvd, you can walk across the entrance driveway to the Loews Resort and take a secret passage way under the bridge right to the part of the beach where lifeguards, bathrooms and even a snack bar exist. Plus, you will get a glimpse on the bay side of the Aquatic Center, where you could picnic on one of the many shaded table areas, or even rent sail boats and kayaks.
Bottom line: there’s more to Coronado, then the main beach or the main shopping drags so spend some time at the beach or park. And when you’re sick of hot dogs and picnic fair and you want to go into the Village for a an actual sit down meal, we recommend Italian Village in the Ferry Landing for best pizza and view, or Costa Azul on Orange Ave for relaxing casual quality Mexican dining with a full bar and great Margaritas.
Just remember, the City of Coronado takes itself very seriously, and like Disneyland or Las Vegas, the local authorities takes a very tough stance on anyone or anything that tarnishes the city’s pristine reputation. Don’t get me wrong, you can have fun in Coronado, but if you get drunk and act obnoxious you will get arrested for disturbing the peace. They even site people for playing their car stereos too loud. The crime rate in Coronado is almost non-existent, yet the Police Department boasts a facility that makes Beverly Hills Cops feel like they are slumming it, and the Eagle Journal, a weekly Coronado newspaper, shows a consistent arrest quota of DUIs, underage tourists with possession, and other forms of disturbing the peace.